The island of Bali has welcomed millions of tourists so far this year. As tourism continues to grow, leaders are pressing to improve infrastructure on the island to support local communities and the travel and hospitality industries.
There are a number of huge projects underway to improve transportation in Bali, but for some leaders, the project completion can’t come soon enough.
Politicians are claiming that if road infrastructure around Bali’s leading tourist destinations is not improved quickly, then the roads around the island’s most popular resorts will be in a state of near-constant gridlock as soon as 2027.
The roads around I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, through to the Samigita Beaches of Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, and Canggu as well as the roads leading into the Bukit Peninsula, will be unable to accommodate the volume of traffic predicted by tourism trends and targets.
@sara12martinez Definitely, traffic is the worst thing here #travelbali #baliguide #traffic #bali #ontheroad #travel #viajestiktok #worstthing #balireality #expectativevsreality ♬ sonido original – Carlos Feria
During a meeting held in Bali on 15th September, transportation officials from the central and provincial governments came together to discuss the future of road infrastructure on the island and the upcoming Light Rail Transit project.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan met with the Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, Head of the Bali Province Transportation Service, I Gede Wayan Samsi Gunarta, and Head of the Bali Province Regional Development Planning Agency (Bappeda), I Wayan Wiasthana Ika Putra.
Together, they have requested that the National Development Planning Agency speed up the process of funding Bali’s Light Rail Transit project.
@toniaguiar__ In #seminyak we walk 🏝️ #bali #indonesia #traffic ♬ original sound – Badr
The project will require foreign investment and still requires the feasibility studies to be completed and signed off.
The officials agreed that progress on the Light Rail Transit project has been slow and urgently needs to be accelerated in order to avoid gridlock by 2027.
The officials noted that they have been talking with international agencies to get the project underway, including investors and consultants from South Korea, but as of yet, no organizations have responded to the bidding process.
@journeyonpoints Survival mode in Bali 😅 #bali #indonesia #traffic #travel ♬ What is Dis Huni – Brian Morr
The good thing is that the Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs is still fully in support of the project.
With I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport set to be serving over 25 million passengers a year within the next 3 years, urgent action must be taken.
Traffic congestion is one of the leading infrastructural issues on the island and is undeniably having an impact on the quality of life for local residents, pollution levels, and tourist experience.
What is unclear is how the upcoming elections may influence the speed at which the projects can progress.
The Bali LTR project was first proposed and signed off by ex-Governor Wayan Koster, who will be running for re-election in 2024.
Though the new Acting Governor of Bali Sang Made Mahendra Jaya has confirmed that he will oversee the smooth progress of major projects like this during his time as leader.
Koster had previously stated that a budget of IDR 10 trillion would be required to establish a light railway in Bali. He had also signed an agreement with the translation agencies in Jakarta for their consultation and support based on the successful Jakarta metro model in the capital city.
It seems that the authorities are keen to encourage foreign investment in the Bali Light Rail Transit system in order to speed up the funding process.
Head of the Bali Province Transportation Service, Gede Wayan Samsi Gunarta, told the meeting that the financing model is still in the works and that a consortium of businesses could invest in the build or wait for government funding.
He noted that the return on investment may be too slow for many foreign investors.
He also explained that the conversation is still underway as to whether the rail should be an elevated rail system, ground level, or underground system.
Gunarta said, “Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Firstly, in terms of costs underground is expensive, then above ground using elevation the costs are also quite high although not as expensive as tunnels.”
“The cheap ones are at ground level, but if they are at ground level, they will cut off traffic, and this train is a priority according to government regulations.”
Other projects underway to tackle the traffic issues for tourists include major road reconstruction around the resort of Uluwatu and the Gilimanuk-Medewi Toll Road.
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